1. What advice would you give rising college freshmen?
Just reach out. Whether it’s a professor, a person in one of your classes, everyone in college is open to meet new people, especially when it comes to making friends. Trust me, everyone is just as apprehensive about creating a social life as you are, so don’t be scared to message them or even send an email. More than anything, people will appreciate that you reached out first.
Also SUPER IMPORTANT. Plan out how your room will look and stick to maintaining it like that. Trust me in a super small area (which is where most of you will live in college) things can become chaotic and messy so quickly. It will be a nightmare to then pack up and move out. I am speaking from personal experience. My worst day in college this semester had to be moving out.
Biggest thing, though, is finding a balance. The reality is college is super hard but it's also super fun. Don’t get too caught up in grades because you are going to miss out on a big part of the college experience that is equally if not more important. The fact is I haven’t experienced all of it yet because of the pandemic, but even in the one semester I have had, I learned more outside of the classroom then I did in.
2. What is the biggest difference you’ve found between college and AES?
Your teachers aren’t gonna make an effort to know you. They have too many students and too much other work outside of teaching to care about each and every student. Also, creating a lasting relationship with every professor you have is also super unlikely. The reality is you are going to have to reflect and selectively choose who you reach out to in order to build a relationship and why. I would suggest doing research with a professor in a field you think is super interesting or going to office hours just to talk about a topic related to that class.
Also standard based grading does a terrible job getting you ready for college. While I think it helps when it comes to encouraging learning, in college you have so many assignments, homework, and tests that all make up small or big percentages of your grade. You can’t just do really well in the end and expect to get an A or B. When I say you need consistent effort for every class, I mean it. If you aren’t pushing yourself in the beginning of the semester that 40% of your final grade is gone and CAN’T be changed. Everything counts even that 5% quiz.